Leaves and cacao with Mayas | The Family Without Borders

The Family Without Borders

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Leaves and cacao with Mayas

Belize: First meeting with fresh cacao beans.

Belize: First meeting with fresh cacao beans.

Going south in Belize, the most far away from touristic crowds of the seaside and the islands. Far into the jungle, in Toledo district, very close to Guatemala but to get there you need to go around for 600 km.

At least since 90s there is a plan to connect Guatemala and Belize by another border crossing and highway, in Toledo district.

That would make the way from Panamerica Highway, Guatemala City or Honduras much faster and would bring more people to Belize. To get from Toledo to Honduras by car, even if it’s not even 100 kilometres away, one have to drive around for maybe 800 kilometres. You can also get a ferry in Punta Gorda, but this option is only for non-car travellers. But building a serious road in a dense jungle takes a while.

We found out that the government of Belize is upgrading this road (“Southern Highway Mile 14 road project”) with financial support from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED), Opec Fund for International Development (OFID) and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration CABEI) and would like to finish this year. We went maybe 10 km until the border and our car got stuck in the mud. We wish Belize lot of good luck with this road and even if it was not on the way to anywhere for us – we were happy to discovered those corners.

In some point we ended up in Blue Creek, lovely Maya (Mopan and Kekchi) village with maybe 300 people. The name comes from a lively river, which is maybe not blue but very clean and very pictureous. We stopped for a night at this river, made sure the people are fine with this, made a nice soup and took a nice bath.

In the morning we noticed that that’s the place to be: all the women of the village spend time from the sunrise until noon at “our” river. Cleaning the dishes, beating their laundry on the smooth stones, washing hair. Tom was probably the only man around, they were very shy (it’s very understandable, I also wouldn’t like to have tourists in my bathroom) and didn’t want us to make pictures.

We had a plan to visit a Hokeb Ha cave (just 20 minutes hike from the place we parked the car) but, as usual, contact with people won against contact with nature. We met women, who every two weeks collect the palms’ leaves and make traditional baskets and we basically spend a day with them.

The excursion to the jungle, cutting the leaves with machetes, stories about different plants (cacao including), putting them in a special way, drying at home and watching the results while drinking chocolate in their huts. Very hot and very interesting day it was! At the end we decided to buy some things from them: it’s nice because we are always very bad with buying presents from the trip and here we could at least see who will really gain from the money we gave them for baskets and hair clips.

Our first book is out!

We have published our first book (for now just in Polish:) about our Central America Trip.
See, read and order here »

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